The last public days of the 2012 North American International Auto Show are winding down in Detroit. Here's a look back at the top cars at the show:
Honorable Mention: Lincoln MKZ
This is Lincoln's attempt at distinguishing its brand from parent company Ford, which has slowed to upgrade the brand for too long. As Ford begins to recover back to profitability, Lincoln gets a chance to be saved. The Lincoln brand had 85,000 sales last year, which is more than a 60 percent drop from 1990, when the brand hit its highest sales numbers.
The 2013 MKZ is a concept, but it should hit the market in the fall after it's perfected. The MKZ has a glass roof for a convertible feel. It looks like an upgrade, and it looks luxurious. Lincoln's design team says this will be the design direction of Lincoln in the future. This is one of seven new Lincolns due out by 2015.
But it didn't match the buzz of Ford's other offerings, specifically the Fusion. On some fronts, that seemed like a bigger redesign and upgrade (more on that later).
5. Cadillac ATS
General Motors spent thousands of hours designing and building the ATS. A key testing ground for the new agile and lightweight luxury sedan was Germany's famed Nurburgring track. Why?
More than just another new entry, the ATS aims to change the status quo of the European-dominated segment, said Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac. That is why our approach in all elements of its development is so extensive and focused.
Cadillac wants this to be a competitor to BMW and Mercedes.
4. Lexus LF-LC
The Lexus LF-LC drew approximately the second-largest amount of eyes throughout the two press days in Detroit. The sporty, hybrid coupe is a concept and might never be made. In fact, it's meant to showcase the future design concept of the Toyota brand.
If the awards in Detroit were any indication, Lexus got it right. It won the annual EyesOn Design Award for the best-designed concept car at the Detroit show. Kevin Hunter, the president of Calty, which designed the car, said the LF-LC was a dream car to design.
3. Dodge Dart
The Dart is here mostly for its significance. It represents Dodge's reentry into the compact market with a sleek design and affordable price that should attract a lot of buyers if it's made right. It's also significant in reestablishing the brand for Chrysler, one of the three U.S. automakers on the rise last year.
It will be an important test for Dodge and Chrysler. The Dart is the first vehicle of design collaboration with Fiat. That said, Dodge is confident. And if the Dart's buzz and looks are any indication, the company should be confident.
In our mind, you have to compete in this segment, or you're not a full-line producer of cars, Matt Liddane, vehicle line executive of the Dodge Dart, said in an interview last week. We're expecting this vehicle to get our share back to where we had at one time with the Neon.
2. Acura NSX
Lexus didn't call its supercar, the LF-LC, by that name. But Acura wasn't as shy. The NSX had a cult-like following before it was discontinued, and now Honda will attempt to revive the model. While Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ito uttering supercar throughout his press conference, he vowed the company would build this model -- a hybrid featuring a mid-mounted V-6 engine -- within the next three years. The crowd never dissipated around the NSX.
Like the first NSX, we will again express high performance through engineering efficiency, Ito said. In this new era, even as we focus on the fun to drive spirit of the NSX, I think a supercar must respond positively to environmental responsibilities.
1. Ford Fusion
Not only is the Ford Fusion significant, in some similar ways as the Dart to Chrysler. But it's sweeping the awards for Best in Show -- including here -- an unprecedented feat for a midsize sedan.
It's very rare for a mid-size sedan to win Best in Show, Autoweek editor Wes Raynal said after the magazine gave its Best in Show Award to the Fusion. I think it's the first of a lot of awards the Fusion is going to win this year.
The Fusion also won the EyesOn Design Award for the best-designed production car.
Ford's Fusion gained significant market share in 2011 and was the company's best-selling brand. Ford bills this version as sleeker and better refined, and its exterior design certainly has the feel of more than a midsize sedan. Time will tell if Ford can improve upon its 2011 performance in the segment, when it made inroads competing with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.
(All videos by Eli Cabanas/IBTimes.)